Fort Myers expected to spend $300M on sewage treatment, add defense against major storms

When storms or hurricanes hit, the first thing to go out is the power. A Southwest Florida city is making sure people don’t lose the ability to flush a toilet or run water at home in case of a storm.

The City of Fort Myers is expected to spend more than $300 million dollars on sewage treatment ahead of possible effects form major storms.

If the City of Fort Myers Central Waste Water Treatment Plant is left unattended to, count on it to really hurting people and the environment. It’s critical to the lives of everyone in the city, especially when a major storm approaches.

“We only think about it when it doesn’t go right,” City Engineer Nicole Monohan said.

The potential for that is when a tropical storm or hurricane strikes. First, it’s because an extraordinary amount of rainwater flows into the plant. That’s why the city invested $45 million already to replace aging equipment, including more powerful generators. The rest of the funds will be spent over the next five years to continue the upgrades.

The second reason for the upgrade: As we know, storms knock out the electricity. If the power at the plant goes out, then, all of sewage will sit in place.

“What would happen if you couldn’t process your waste water is you would have a stagnant system, or you’d be discharging untreated waste water,” Monohan said.

Generators at the plant make sure that doesn’t happen, and it ensures the Fort Myers water remains safe to use during and after a storm.

“We don’t skip a beat,” Monohan said. “We just turn on the generators and we run … these replaced three different generators that we switched out … Those three combined would not run the entire plant.”

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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